The Home of Adventure

Bear-Sig-01 1

Bear Grylls

Darn Tough: The Story Behind the Best Socks in the Business

Cabot Hosiery Mills was founded by Marc Cabot in 1978. He purchased a vacant mill and started to make socks for other brands in the textile industry, who would, in turn, relabel his socks and sell them under their brand names. Because he was making socks for larger companies like Gap, the company was able to grow under this business model. That is until these retailers started to look for lower prices overseas.

These companies found their lower prices, but ultimately ended up with a lower quality product, and by the early 2000s Cabot Hosiery Mills had lost 40 employees and started to default on loans to lenders.

In 2004 Marc Cabot’s son Ric decided to change direction and started manufacturing the Darn Tough brand in-house. In a move that seems crazy for a company on its last leg, Marc gave away 3,500 merino wool socks at the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington. Word of the socks’ durability quickly spread, and outdoor enthusiasts couldn’t stop talking about the lifetime guarantee. As a result, distribution soon went nationwide, and sales rose about 60% every year in the first part of the 2010s.

Ric Cabot’s gamble had paid off. He was uncompromising in the construction and warranty of Darn Tough socks, and hikers beat a path to his door. Today Cabot Hosiery Mills employs more than 200 people and has announced plans for a 100,000 sq ft expansion to meet demand. They’ve grown to become the second largest employer in Northfield, and refuse to make their socks anywhere other than their beloved state of Vermont.

Good on them.

Join the Conversation!

More Like This

More Stories

15 Best National and State Parks Near Portland, Oregon

Portland might keep it weird—but the parks surrounding Oregon’s largest city are outlandishly beautiful, with plenty of sites to shock and awe. The Beaver [...]

This Company is Opening the World’s First Octopus Farm. Is it Ethical?

Seafood brand Nueva Pescanova recently announced a plan to open the world’s first octopus farm. While global culinary markets could benefit from having a [...]

California Sea Otters Are Dying. Your Cat’s Poop Could Be to Blame.

In California, four otters have tested positive for a deadly brain disease called toxoplasmosis. Some biologists suspect domesticated cat feces could be to blame. [...]

It May Soon Be Illegal to Drive Through Some U.S. National Parks

All around North America, the car-free park movement seems to be gaining steam. Last year, Rock Creek, a city park managed by the National [...]

Mom of the Year: Jackal Forces Eagle to Drop Her Pup 

A mother jackal has done the impossible: When an eagle kidnapped her baby, she pressured it into dropping the pup back down to her.  [...]

How Bear Grylls Navigates When Lost in the Jungle

As a survivalist, Bear Grylls has spent a lot of time in the world’s jungles—remember those gripping episodes of Man Vs. Wild in Borneo? [...]

Scroll to Top